Friday, 28 February 2014

Family Friday: Cooking Kid

Last week I set my Cubs a task, to help their parents at home in a range of chores/activities.

My eldest son JJ was no different.

For a week, he cleaned his room, made his bed, he sorted out the shoe cupboard and laid the dinner to list a few of the tasks.

He also cooked. His favourite food is lasagne, but I wasn't feeling the stress of teaching him how to make a bechemel sauce. Instead I headed to the cupboard and pulled out this beauty.

I've never really been a packet user. My mum used to way back when, for things like savoury mince, but as I was a diet club member for most of my adult life (somewhat unsuccessfully may I add) I have avoided them. However, I thought this looked interesting and a good cupboard standby. 

All JJ needed to add was some meatballs, which he made from lean mince formed into balls with some salt and pepper, onion and red pepper. 

Those knife skills just scared me!

He fried off the meatballs, onion & peppers. Added the sauce mix to the pan and left it to cook out and thicken, 

At this point he also boiled up some pasta (that's the shiny pan). 

After mixing it all together and topping with cheese we baked it for roughly 20 mins. 

The finished dish looked like this:

I think it's fair to say he did a really good job. I enjoyed my tea that night anyway!

If I see this packet mix again I will definitely be buying it. Quick and simple to make and it was quite simply child's play. 

Thursday, 27 February 2014

5 Minute Spring Make Up

The mornings are starting to get that bit brighter, and the weather has finally appeared to turn a corner... just wait, now I've said that the snow is going to fall in earnest isn't it?

This is a quick look suitable for busy mums on the school run and for work too.

Starting with my usual base, I use Avon's ideal flawless cream-to-powder foundation in Shell and primer in light beige. I also use the primer as a concealer.

On my eyes I used the MUA Immaculate Collection palette. I used shade 18 on the inner corner, swept shade 12 over the lid and finished off with shade 2 in the crease. I added a little shade 14 to add a bit of a bronze sparkle to keep it on trend. Eyeliner is Avon's blackest black glimmerstick and mascara is Avon's Mega Effects. Usually I would also fill in my brows at this point, but as I recently had them tinted I tamed them with a bit of wax.

On the cheeks I added Avon's blusher bronzer duo in pink glow.
On my lips I used the glow 3-in-1 stick and topped with a coral lip gloss.

The Finished Look

The products I used:

You can see by the photo how much I have used the Immaculate Collection palette, I love it and love the fact that they have re-released it for spring. You can get your palette here or at Superdrug.

It's great value and you can create so many different looks very easily and the colours last well too.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

bowl of Oats So Simple with maple syrup

Ham Salad sandwich in a Warburton's Thin

Meatball Pasta Bake - made by my 8-year-old son JJ

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Seasonal Flavours: Harper's Bizarre

Late last October I found myself wandering around a local craft fair in my home town. The scent as I walked in was amazing. After a leisurely meander, stopping by the Pampered Chef stall, a cupcake counter and some fabulous cross stitching I found out where the scrumptious smells were coming from.

I adore scented candles. But I find most of them disappointing. Never quite living up to the promise of their label or their initial sniff test. I am a huge fan of sweet caramel tones at the moment. Probably a comfort thing as both my mum and gran were bakers, at home and at work.

Made with natural soya wax Victoria, the lovely lady behind Harper's Bizarre, mixes each batch [of candles by hand. If you visit her stall you can also find limited editions that don't make it onto the website.

I'm currently burning Peanut Brittle, and have been since October - giving it a miss in December for a more cinnamon-based candle,  which is an incredibly cozy candle. I am lusting after so many others. On my long list are Cherries Jubilee,  Birthday Cake, Fruit Fairy, Spicy & Homey, Sweet & Musky, Sweet Pea and Cherry Pie. Those would last me a very long time indeed, and new ranges are brought out regularly. Recent additions have been Licorice Alsorts and Parma Violets.

If you are in the East Riding of Yorkshire you can find these vegan beauties at the UpMarket popup shop at Hull's Prospect Centre every Saturday 9-5pm and on the 1st Sunday of the month at Humber Bridge Farmers Market 9-1pm.

Her range is also available online at

At £8 per candle, or 3 for £20, each candle has an approximate burn time of 25 hours. Victoria has a fantastic nose and has even perfected a candle which smells like an authentic Jaffa Cake, which even now I still covet.

This is a great product which stays true to it's scent and lasts for ages, with a nice even burn and makes a wonderful gift for that someone special.

Monday, 24 February 2014

My Life Monday: Things They Are a-changing

For the last eight years I have been working part time at my office.

Next week I am going to return full time. New department, new role, new responsibilities.

I also embrace the whirlwind that is shift work, five days a week. I will still be publishing on this blog daily, I will still need to keep on top of the housework, the boys and their homework, cubs and just who will take the boys to school and bring them home (depending on the week).

This means I have, for the last few weeks, been trying to get the house in order so I can maintain, rather than fight an uphill battle in 15-30 minutes a day.

A few weeks ago you will have seen I worked on the de-cluttering of my bedroom. That is still remarkably tidy. However, little bits that needed to be finished still need doing and there are a couple of other areas that are starting to fall behind again.

The bathroom got attention last week, the joy of living surrounded by boys.

The kitchen is this week's task.

I'm also working on getting back into the groove with planning shopping around a pre-decided meal plan.

I also need to start to use weekends for doing things with the kids... and sleeping!

I'm going to be a busy BeeBee.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Nail Woes: Update

If you spotted my Something Fishy post you'll have seen my nails were finally getting to a decent length.

Alas, not long after that photo was taken a couple of them broke... now I've managed to cut them all down to a similar length and the splitting that was wrecking them is starting to only effect a couple of nails now.

I have started to use Avon's Diamond Strengthening Complex and Nail Experts 24k gold strength. Apart from the residual dye from my hair tinting the nail they're starting to look good again.

I apply the Diamond Complex after removing my nail varnish, I apply it to the cuticle area and the nail bed then massage it in, which - I am informed - encourages nail growth.

I seem to have been having much more success with the 24k gold treatment than with the pearl shine. It both protects and has a much longer durability than the Pearl Shine. You get a nice golden shimmer too which means that you can use it as your daily polish or as an undercoat.

I've also been carry around my current favourite hand cream also by Avon. It has a fresh apricot scent which isn't overpowering and sits happily in my handbag. I like it that much I'm considering getting a second one for my desk at work.

Overall, I'm really happy with how my nails are looking right now, hopefully it won't be long until I can embrace my nail wraps and more intricate nail art again.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Family Friday: The Day It All Went Wrong

We had some big plans for today.

We were going to go somewhere further afield and make use of the out of season prices.

Alas, Patsy the Battletram didn't agree with these ideas. So instead gets an extended stay at my mechanic's pleasure. Oh the joys. I didn't expect that after having my vitamin injection this morning that I would be high tailing it up to the garage with the world's loudest ever exhaust. It was just embarrassing.

So instead we rounded out half term with an impromptu lego-themed day, and an emergency visit to the dentist for me.

Bean bags on the floor, adults huddled on the sofa, mummy feeling rather sorry for herself and her bank balance!

We've always had a touch of Lego obsession in this house. We have the games, the tv specials and some films not to mention the blocks, some of the giant box we have were mine from the 80s.

We are really looking forward to seeing the new film, anything with Will Ferrell in is usually a hit at BeeBee Towers with the husband too.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

DIY Thursday: Facial Hair Removal

Oh yes. I'm going there.

The great female taboo  Facial hair.

I am a woman of a certain age, and why did no one warn me that it was going to happen.

Then I started to wonder if it was hereditary, mainly after I happened across Gran wielding a razor toward her chin on more than one occasion

I don't get me wrong, I don't have a full on beard or tashe. I do have a couple of worrisome shadowy bits that annoy me. Probably more than they should.

I've tried all sorts of treatments from waxing and threading to epilating and bleach. I have come to the conclusion that I much prefer using a hair removal cream. The first three just hurt far too much, and their are only so many tears you can shed at the beauticians before they get a complex.
The other thing in favour of a hair removal cream is that you can do it in the comfort of your own bathroom. Quick, simple and cheap.

I also like that I can do it at the same time as something else, like doing my roots and conditioning my hair.

I picked mine up in store, I've had a look online and I can't see it right now.

Scent wise it could be nicer, it has that usual floralish smell, which can be dodged if you light a nice candle, thankfully you only need to leave it on for 3 minutes, 5 minutes maximum. Remove the cream with the enclosed spatula and rinse with lukewarm water. Finish off with the moisturiser that comes with the kit.

That's it you're done!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

This is my current favourite breakfast, yogurt and fruit. In this instance I have added pineapple to some coconut yogurt. 

Lunch was a houmous and carrot sandwich made with green olive bread from ASDA and a side of cheese snack mix from Aldi.

Tea tonight was chinese-style lettuce wraps. So simple even my 6-year-old son can make them. Gone as soon as they are served up! Click here for the recipe.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

What I've Been Reading: Naughty Girls Book Club by Sophie Hart

So, there I was casting my eye over the book section in my local Tesco when this title popped out. There is something to be said for a title that just draws me in.

In part this one appealed as I've always wanted to be part of a book club, and I've not always toed the line either.

Instead of buying this novel there and then, I went home and work on the pile of books I already have set aside to read. However, it kept appearing on my Kindle recommendations list, so I fear that the universe spoke to me and I got it. My father in law has lent me his Kindle for the time being. I really must get around to getting my own.

Anyhoo, back to the book in hand. Divorced, single mother Estelle owns a small cafe and bakery in Bristol (in my head I've imagined it as the tea shop that was at the top of Park Street 15ish years ago).

Her elderly neighbours, a couple with a bookshop are closing the door on their business, and an idea begin to bloom in Estelle's mind. Why not start a book club?

In an effort to boost takings during a slow month at the cafe Estelle is joined by feminist librarian Gracie, bored newlywed Rebecca, freshly-retired Sue and Phd student Reggie (who is there just to 'observe' for his thesis honest!).

At the first meeting the group discuss Tess of the D'Ubervilles. It would appear it didn't exactly prick at the interest of the fledgling reading group, accidentally Estelle's bag fell open to reveal a battered copy of Ten Sweet Lessons, the 'IT' book of the moment.

SIDE NOTE: Ten Sweet Lessons is there as a vehicle for the novel and is basically there to emulate the phenomenon that was Fifty Shades of Grey.

Embarrassed to be seen with a mass-market erotic book Estelle quickly bluffs that it is to be the group's next tome. This peaks the members' interest in many ways.

Meeting by meeting the group reads various 'naughty' books from Riders and Lace to the Marquis de Sade's Justine.

The more they read the more adventurous the group grow in their own lives. Rebecca approaches married life with a new vigour, Gracie stated to open her mind to new ideas and romance, Sue realised what is missing from her life, Reggie makes his mind up and Estelle falls in love.

This is an nice and easy read, not without a few naughty bits of it's own. The way Hart has managed to interlink each group member's story and it was a joy to see them grow with each chapter. I'm now going to see if she has any other books I can add to my Amazon wish list!

To buy it in Paperback
Or on Kindle

Monday, 17 February 2014

My Life Monday: Procrastination is a Very Long Word, Spell It.

I don't know about you, but I am a fully paid up, card-carrying member of the procrastination club. 

If I don't do something straight away, it tends not to get done. I have a tendency to over think, over plan and just make things over complicated. 

Some things in life do need to be thought about in advance. Due to the ramifications that are imparted post idea, other things not too much. 

I can lay in bed for 2 hours thinking about getting up after the alarm goes off. No snooze button required. I just lay there and think about it. 

I have been known to plan how to clean a particular room for that long, if I'd just got on with it the room would have been finished before my To Do list was. 

Another thing is if I'm engrossed in a book, everything just gets pushed aside. Writing these posts, I often do them one night a week, if a book is involved... yeah let us not dwell on that one eh?

Sleep, I think about that... a lot. I'm frequently lacking in that. It's like finding a mythical creature in the supermarket. Just doesn't happen when I particularly want it to. Usually because I'm busy watching vlogs in bed. I just love YouTube for those. 

If I'm lacking in inspiration for something I can easily get lost within @pinterest. For hours at a time! That site is a procrastinators dream. You can lose yourself and at the same time feel really productive as you are finding ideas and inspiration for future endeavours, which lets be fair you will probably also procrastinate over and then never actually do.

This year I am trying to break the procrastination habit... it's really tough, and I'm trying hard. Maybe it will be easier tomorrow. 

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Nail Art: Something Fishy

What is your secret weapon in your nail art arsenal?

Mine is acrylic paint.

I add a layer of base coat to my nails to avoid staining.

Then using my nail art brushes I mix the colour I want then slowly begin to build up the colour in layers, until I get a nice opaque look.

This time I decided a fishy look would be fun.

So I mixed up a little orange and fashioned myself a goldfish.

The rest of the nails I then added spots for bubbles in white and a light blue.

I finished the look with a couple of coats of top coat which gave it a glossy finish.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Family Friday: Half Term Ideas

As a parent with my finger firmly attached to the internet, I have been looking around for things to do with the boys when they're off on Half Term next week.

The youngest boy child has decided that he really wants to go to the seaside... wind and blowy gales included, the eldest has come home with a list of chores to do for Cubs so he can get his Home Help badge. Oh what a Cub Leader I am, bribery with a badge so he'll tidy his room for a week.

On his list are the following:

  1. Cook a simple one-course meal. I'm thinking along the lines of beans on toast (or more likely spaghetti hoops then his brother will eat it too).
  2. Lay a table and serve a simple meal. This can be done with requirement number one. 
  3. Wash up afterwards and show how to clean a saucepan or similar cooking utensils, cutlery, glassware, etc. This may include loading and unloading a dishwasher. Anything that means I don't have to!
  4. Under adult supervision, wash and iron your Group scarf. I hate ironing those, and he screws it up in seconds.
  5. Sew on a badge or button. He has plenty of buttons that have popped!
  6. Keep your room clean and tidy and make your bed for a week. This one is my favourite! 
  7. Clean two of the following: windows, silver, brass-work, basin or cupboard. Would it be cruel to pass him all the spoons that haven't been polished for 10+ years.
  8. Clean and tidy a living room. He'll hate me for this!
And if I'm brave I may also add make a cup of tea/coffee to the list. 

If he manages it he'll get this badge for his uniform.

Now what to do on a windy day on a UK beach when the winds have been at their worst? 

We could head towards Hornsea, a shale beach with lots of rocks. Suitable for making pets with...
and some gorgeous fish and chips. And some kite flying to boot.

We could also go to Bridlington or Scarborough, which at least have shops close by to shelter from the biting wind, before a final decision is made I best keep an eye on the weather reports.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Valentines DIY: Jar of Love

To make your Jar of Love you will need:

Pretty paper, the origami/scrapbooking type.
Glue dots or glue stick.
I love you, either written or printed out in the style of a fortune cookie.


1. Cut circles. My circles have a diameter of 4.5 inches, but you could go smaller – down as small as 3 inches – with no problem. Find a saucer, bowl, Tupperware, or some other round object with a diameter of approximately 3 inches and trace it over and over and over. 

2. Fold one of the circles in half, but don’t crease it. Hold it shut at the edge where the two sides meet. Once you've made a few cookies, you’ll be able to put the fortune in at this step. 

3. Using your other hand, grab the two “corners” – the places where you would have creased it if you were creasing it. Using your thumb and ring finger, gently pinch those two corners together, while pushing the centre backwards with your pointer finger. It sounds much more difficult than it is. When you do this, one of the pieces will crease underneath the other piece (or, if you are holding it, they will form a crease with both edges in the same direction – both ways look nice, so it doesn't matter). Crease the centre a little on the outside. 

4. Add a glue dot/dab of glue between the two ends of the cookie to hold them together. This is what will keep the cookie in the cookie shape. 

That’s it. Your paper fortune cookies are done. Now repeat three or four dozen times and put them all in a nice jar or bowl.